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Jan 2, 2008 12:50 PM

phx: what local place do you think is underrated?


this is on the flip side of my other topic ;) what local spot is a fave that you think for some reason is totally underrated/over looked in the local food scene?

here's mine -

lisa g's wine bar - great food, great prices, good wines by the glass, cute location, great service, and lisa is ALWAYS there - i love it when the owner is there making sure everything is all good. and it is, too!!

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  1. Maybe Lola or Such is Life. I don't know that I've really noticed people bagging on either of them, but they don't seem to get much play on the board. I've enjoyed myself greatly at both places. Lola, though not fancy or mind-blowing, is a solid value, and the food I've had at Such is Life stands head and shoulders above that I've had at Barrio.

    Funny you should mention lisa g's. I ate there for the first time just about a week ago. My reaction to the food was mixed. Being the porcophile that I am, I liked the prosciutto bruschetta quite a bit. The steak salad was decent, but could have been improved easily. The empanadas? Well, they weren't really empanadas as I know them. But labeling issues aside, they just didn't float my boat. I almost talked myself out of ordering them because I kept thinking that the chef needed to swap the cheeses in the two varieties. And when the empandas arrived, I was disappointed at the low filling:pastry ratio.

    I had no complaints about the service. We (and the nearly empty dining room) weren't exactly placing a huge demand on our friendly waitress's energy or skill.

    My impression after my initial visit was that lisa g's would probably not be a place where I would try to make a meal out of their offerings, but I might stop in the for a glass of wine and a snack or a dessert, which is sometimes all I'm looking for.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hohokam

      Great choices. In a way, I'm thankful that these places, especially Lola, are off radar. It would be shame to have to put up with two-hour waits for a round of tapas.

    2. Don and Charlie's. It's not a "foodie" destination, but it has been serving quality food with great atmosphere and fantastic servers for well over 20 years. Great bbq ribs, excellent steaks (order it with the "char crust"), unique creamed spinach as a side, and a complimentary chopped liver platter than beats even my Jewish grandmother's!

      Other than the usual fast food haunts that you frequent over the years out of convenience, I've probably eaten at Don and Charlie's more than any other restaurant and I've never had a meal that was anything less than great. Rarely do I see it mentioned here, unless I'm mentioning it!

      1. One of my faves is Marcellino, and it doesn't get a lot of board talk. Everything from the food and wine, to the warm service Sima provides, is top notch.

        4 Replies
        1. re: mamamia

          Nice looking menu there. I'm rarely on that stretch of Northern, but I did notice it last time I was up that way. I recall trying to remember why the name sounded familiar--maybe it was one of your posts? ;-)

          1. re: mamamia

            Agree. Marcellino is wonderful. Now that I've experienced Aiello's, I'm happy to have two Italian gems in NCP. Each has its niche, and I believe the two will complement each other more than compete with each other.

            1. re: mamamia

              Good call - great restaurant. We dine there with some regularity, but not as much, as I'd like. I love to turn Chef Marcellino loose with his "hidden reserve" wine list, which is not a list at all, just what he has secreted away. Always worth it, and his descriptions and translations are great.

              I also recall a similar thread, but maybe with a tad more focus, from a year, or so ago: "Cowboy Ciao, why does no one mention it?" Since Peter has been getting a lot of press recently, I do not know that this is true any longer, but I still sing its praises.


              1. re: mamamia

                Forgot to add the link, for those who might like to locate it.


                Marcellino Ristorante
                7114 E. Stetson Dr. 85251, Old Town Scottsdale, AZ 85251

              2. Just down the street from Lola is Padre's, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it restaurant that is a favorite of mine. The owner is friendly and is often behind the bar or walking around, which I agree makes for great service. They do seafood really well, but the other night I had a chance to try the Arrachera Steak, which perhaps the best thing I've had there. Also, their blueberry mojito is so good I actually called the restaurant while I was at the grocery store so I could make my own at home!

                3 Replies
                1. re: HerculesRockefeller

                  say no more.. i agree! i'm addicted to both their pomegranate margarita and their scallops appetizer. i don't even like spicy food that much, but they do something with the risotto so it PERFECTLY balances the spice of the sauce, which is a roasted red pepper cream or something. just spectacular.

                  1. re: HerculesRockefeller

                    Do you have a link or address for Padre's? I've been hankering after some arrachera.

                    1. re: nyomi

                      they have red sign at ground level. look for it around 12th-ish and Camelback (north side). see place link below...

                      Padre's Latin Grill
                      1044 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ

                  2. The various breakfast places with "egg" in their names: US Egg, Eggery, Good Egg, etc. Most provide a more varied and appealing menu than the morning favorites on this board, but they don't get much respect here.

                    Christopher's Fermier Brasserie (and its successor soon to open at the west end of Biltmore Fashion Park). Back when Stephen Lemons had the restaurant beat at the New Times, he tried to slaughter this sacred cow, but he only made me appreciate it more.

                    In Season Deli -- Great lunch spot in Downtown Tempe for 25 years. Healthful choices at reasonable prices.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: silverbear

                      Wow. In Season Deli. I haven't been there in a good long while. When I was a student and (gasp) a vegetarian, I really appreciated their wallet-friendly menu. Just thinking of sitting in the dappled light of the courtyard with one of their tamales and a cup of lemonade takes me back to my salad days.

                      Hmm...maybe I can invent a reason to be in Tempe at lunchtime after I get back to town.

                      1. re: hohokam

                        Just had lunch there today. In Season was closed for a while over the summer due to an injury on the part of one of the staff (maybe the owner?). It has since come back with newly expanded hours, including Saturdays. The tamales, soups, salads, and the lemonade are as good as they were when I first tried them almost 20 years ago.

                        In Season Deli
                        414 S Mill Ave Ste 111, Tempe, AZ 85281

                      2. re: silverbear

                        Oh, I must have leftovers at Christopher's before it closes!

                        Love In Season Deli too.

                        1. re: AguasFrescas

                          are they still doing leftovers? I was aware in the new location they are not.